It's getting real! Operation Las Chicas en Aconcagua is only a couple days away now, and I just touched down in Mendoza a few hours ago to get all set for the team's impending arrival. I started my own trip down south yesterday, leaving Calgary mid-morning; at least traveling on Christmas paid off: low fares, no security lines and zero travel delays. Three flights and four countries later (the US and Chile were transit stops) I am finally back in Argentina, stoked for the rest of the girls to get here on Tuesday.
It's been an interesting journey trying to manage expedition logistics from afar. By far the biggest challenge was figuring out how to get group gear and support from our (largely US-based) sponsors down to Argentina, given that I've been traveling internationally for the last five months with no break to return to the US until after Aconcagua. Shipping to Argentina is generally not considered an option because of import issues, so I needed to find a way to collect all the gear and transport it in person. In the end I did manage to get every last piece of expedition equipment to Argentina with only ~$150 in excess luggage fees - mostly thanks to the unceasing support of my boyfriend a.k.a. basecamp manager extraordinaire, Paul.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of the task, here's a sample of what Paul and I were looking at:
- ~25lbs of freeze dried meals from Backpackers Pantry
- ~40lbs of PowerBar gels and bars
- ~20lbs of hand- and toewarmers from Grabber Warmers
- five double sleeping pad & chair kit sets from Therm-a-Rest - thankfully these are ultra light & small, but imagine the combined volume
- two tents, three stoves (and all the relevant team cookware from Sea-to-Summit)
- all my personal gear including heavy double boots and a -30* sleeping bag...
- ... and of course camera equipment and all the usual electronics.
This is the first time that I'm traveling with and organizing logistics for a team bigger than two; it's been an adventure already, and I can't wait to see how things play out on the mountain. Here's hoping for good weather, strong legs and lungs, and easy acclimatization!
T minus two days until the team gets together to kick things off.